Some of you may remember when I wrote a post about Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 6 weeks ago. At the end of that post, I said I’d play the sequel, Mirror of Fate. I played it, and it’s actually really good. I have a review for it in my other site, but let’s focus on what matters: my experience with the game itself.
Let me start by looking back at why I hated the original Lords of Shadow game. I hated it because I thought that Konami had utterly screwed the established canon of the Castlevania series. However, I eventually came to the conclusion that the Lords of Shadow trilogy (Lords of Shadow 2 is slated to be the last game in the trilogy) is simply an alternate timeline, which means that the Simon of this game is not the same as in the rest of the Castlevania franchise. It was this realization that allowed me to enjoy the plot a little more.
The plot may be more reconcilable now, but in this game, it makes no sense. The plot basically switches from one character to the next without warning, and just as you got used to playing as the previous character. This happens a total of 3 times throughout the whole game.
The cut-scenes are underdone, as in they are done in a cel-shaded kind of way, but some scenes have the same graphics as the rest of the game. Is there any reason why all the cut-scenes couldn’t be done the same way? Absolutely not! Especially since the cel-shaded cut-scenes do not look good on the 3DS. The graphics in general are a step down from the original Lords of Shadow (where the visuals where actually a strong point).
However, I think the thing they really improved is the gameplay. The original had a 3D perspective, but with no camera control at all. This game, on the other hand, is 2D side-scrolling perspective in a 3D plane (which was done really well in Mega Man X8). No matter what character you play as, you get amazing power-ups and sub-weapons that are unique to certain characters.
The combat mechanic is done pretty well, often resulting in tense situations, and the quick time events have been improved from the previous game. However, I do have a serious problem with some of the bosses. Sometimes, they’re modestly easy, and other times, they’re far too hard. An example of this is the battle against the Daemon Lord Resurrected. If you fight him for the first time (playing as Alucard), you’ll have no idea how to dodge his attacks unless you do what I did, go to YouTube.
Beyond that, the game was a much better experience than the last game, and actually raised my hopes for Lords of Shadow 2.
Finally, I must mention IGN’s “review”, and I put that in quote marks because I’ve read the whole thing, and it’s not even close to a professional, impartial review. It was an attack. Colin Moriarty (the “reviewer”) is clearly more closed-minded than I was, just like all IGN editors.
Overall, it’s a step forward, and I just hope that the next Lords of Shadow game will be even better.